That is the title of the excellent piece written by one of our newest MAC members, Anthony Ferguson Jr. Anthony originally wrote this piece for his blog, Young, Black & Educated, but it was so good, that we wanted to repost the entire piece here on the MAC blog. Check it out below.
As I write this I ask myself, “How can I be a man when I’ve never seen one?
From the time we are boys, all the way up to the time we become men, the term, “boys will be boys” is used as an excuse for the male species to get away with just about anything. We are groomed from a very early age by family, friends, and our peers to act a certain way. No tears, no fears, and no emotions. We are taught that being emotional is a ‘girl’ thing, and even more so a thing for the weak. In our society where we glorify the concept of ‘survival of the fittest’, we police ourselves so that we seem manlier. Instead of being ourselves, we look for those things that will prove to others that we are all man.
Our society tells us that money, power, and sex is the equation for absolute manhood. It teaches us that solving our problems through psychical altercations and out toughing another man is the way to prove how much of a man we really are. If a kid doesn’t play sports, listen to the right kinds of music, and doesn’t stick his tongue out every time a female walks by, he is considered less of a man. We use words like, fag, homo, p-ssy, weak, and girly to downgrade other men who just don’t seem to fit inside the guidelines for being what we consider a man. We are in essence emasculating each other to the point where this artificial manhood is something that is desired by all, but unattainable unless a person is willing to become almost completely savage to fit the criteria of what our society deems a man.
So how can we break this curse that has plagued many young men?
We must first admit there is a problem. Next our community has to teach its young men how to connect to another person on an emotional level. Many young males in the African American community grow up without a father or any other strong male figure in their lives and they never learn that telling another man that he loves him is okay. Instead what he sees is love only being giving by the women in his life, and he equates love with being feminine. This creates an even bigger problem for the males in our society. We now have our men thinking that being feminine is a bad thing and a sign of weakness so when they actually get involved with a female it’s hard for that men to accept her as his equal. He views her as an object, someone who has been put on this earth to serve and cater to his needs. This outlook of inferiority towards females is what leads us to the overwhelming number of broken homes in our communities. We are in a vicious cycle that is crippling, and preventing the black family from thriving. We must ignore what society tells us a man is, and we must embrace actual manhood. We do so by teaching boys that a man takes responsibility for his own actions, and a man isn’t afraid to admit he is wrong. We teach him that a man works hard to provide for his family and community. More importantly, a man leads by example.
You can find the original post here.